Lady Tigers Softball win on new home field
After two years of fundraising and planning, the Cleveland Heights Lady Tigers Softball program opened its new home field on April 23. A warm, sunny day brought out a standing-room-only crowd, including Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley, and Council Members Jason Stein and Mary Dunbar. The festivities were led by Kristin Hughes, athletic director for the CH-UH schools, and booster co-leaders, Jennifer Vinson and Larry Sollisch. The real winners were the players, who for years were bused to Forest Hills Park to play their home games, and the community, which saw the corner of Goodnor Road and Washington Boulevard brought to life by the new facility.
The boosters worked hand-in-hand with the school district and the city to make the dream of a new field a reality. Vinson and Sollisch thanked the sponsors who invested in building this new community asset. Lisa Sands, marketing manager for Whole Foods Market at Cedar Center, the program’s first sponsor, accepted a signed ball from the team. S&S Incorporated and Elson’s International were also honored for donating iPads, which the boosters raffled off to raise money for the project.
Matt Gile, general manager of Motorcars Toyota, was recognized for his company’s sponsorship of the project. “Motorcars really stepped up to the plate to help make this project happen and be our naming sponsor,” said Sollisch, who has two daughters on the team.
John Lentz, the “Voice of Tiger Nation,” presided over the over the grand-opening ceremony. He recognized captains Alexa Sollisch and Katie Moore as they cut the ribbon to open the field. Heights vocalist Marley Lieberman sang the national anthem.
Mayor Kelley threw out the first pitch to catcher Emily Vinson, and then turned it over to senior captain Alexa Sollisch, who shut down the Warrensville Heights Tigers, striking out 11 of the 18 batters she faced, and securing a 10-0 win for Cleveland Heights in its first game played on its new home field.
Heights racked up 10 hits in five innings, led by senior Audrey Harris who went two-for-two with a home run in the third inning. Heights broke it open in the second inning, scoring six runs on five hits. Lakiana Holley opened the inning by reaching base on an error. Harris walked, then freshman Flannery Jewell ripped a single to right to load the bases. Sophomore Simone Sollisch drove in two runs with a double to center field, and senior Raven Porter followed suit with a double of her own for two more runs.
Pitcher Sollisch took it from there, yielding just one hit in five shut-out innings. She allowed only two runners on base, to improve her record to 2-3 on the season.
Heights ended the game in the bottom of the fifth by loading the bases. Junior Zaija Pelligree drove in the final two runs with a ground out to short. Heights improved its record to 7-5 overall, and 4-2 in the Lake Erie League (LEL).
Krista Hawthorne is the assistant director of Reaching Heights.